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Former great hall at Lyveden Manor, near Oundle, to become a visitor centre with cafe

One of Northamptonshire’s most important heritage sites will have its manor house turned into a visitor centre.

The National Trust has had plans approved to turn Lyveden Manor near Oundle into a visitor attraction and will renovate the former great hall and open a cafe inside.

The Grade I listed manor, built by the Tresham family in 1570, was in private ownership until it was bought by the National Trust in 2013. Over the years many of its original features have been removed.

However, work will start in the summer to renovate the Great Hall and it is expected it will open as an attraction next year.

Speaking on behalf of the National Trust at East Northamptonshire Council’s planning meeting on Wednesday last week, Ian Cooper said: “Lyveden has a rare and important Elizabethan garden created by Thomas Tresham as an expression of his tastes and Catholicism. It gives visitors today a unique

“The National Trust is very proud of Lyveden but recognises it has limitations. The car park is unfinished and the main facilities are in a cottage adjacent to the lodge.

“Our proposals are informed by extensive research into the manor.

“We will reinstate the great chamber on the first floor and we have worked hard to design a new scheme. We believe our proposal will result in significant visitor growth.”

Mr Cooper said 34,000 people visit Lyveden each year. The National Trust has a fundraising project to gain £1m for improvements.

In approving the new plans Coun Andy Mercer said: “Lyveden is not just a local asset, it is the finest example of its kind in Europe and anything that enhances it has got to have our support.”

An aerial picture taken by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War was rediscovered by a researcher in 2010 and has revealed the extent of the original garden design. Its 120-metre concentric design is heralded as of international importance.

The current main attraction on the site is Lyveden New Bield, an unfinished Elizabeth lodge and moated garden.Work stopped on the house and gardens when Thomas died in 1605.

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